A gust of wind can put your drone at risk
Every drone pilot knows not to fly in extreme weather conditions: rain, snow and hail. But even experienced drone pilots don't always measure wind conditions correctly. In this article, we will teach you how to distinguish between beneficial and threatening winds.
How wind affects your flight
Strong winds can make takeoffs extremely difficult. A drone's ground wind flow is covered by the wind - making the drone more likely to flip or be taken out of its flight pattern by the wind. The pilot should stand in front of the drone facing the wind so that there is a shelter from the wind.
Strong winds are often accompanied by more extreme weather. Fast winds could signal an even bigger incoming threat: thunderstorms. Strong winds - we are characterised by wind speeds above 24 mph - can make it difficult to properly control the drone during flight and make a forced landing. Even with a portable helipad or soft, dry surface to land on, it can be difficult to ensure that your drone won't lose control with the propellers slowing down.
When flying in strong winds, the drone's battery can drain quickly. More energy used to fight wind means faster consumption, just like an airplane needs more fuel to fight strong winds. Flying in the wind means the drone has a shorter flight time. If you want to fly your drone for a longer period of time, it is necessary and important to carry the drone with you to replace the battery. Additionally, many pilots overestimate the battery life of their drones, which makes their drones more likely to fail mid-flight and not be able to return or land safely.
What is a microburst?
A microburst is a strong downdraft that causes strong headwinds. It usually occurs at 1-2 nautical miles and a vertical distance of 1,000 feet. These microbursts are short and painful - they can reach as high as68 mph winds. After the microburst is generated, it increases in speed and direction for up to 5 minutes, then lasts for 10-20 minutes.
Why worry about microbursts?
Microbursts are truly unexpected wind gusts that can affect drone flight, especially during takeoff and landing. Microbursts can change direction very quickly, meaning a strong headwind has turned into a strong tailwind, changing the drone's path. A headwind can significantly increase the speed of the drone, while a tailwind can greatly reduce the performance of the drone. Microbursts can disrupt takeoffs and landings because that's when the drone's propellers are at their slowest, and sudden high winds can displace your drone.
Tips for Flying in the Wind
keep an extra battery
Flying against the wind will be significantly reduceddrone battery life, which in turn makes flight times unpredictable. Stick to flying the drone for up to two-thirds of the listed flight time in high wind speeds to avoid the drone stopping mid-flight and crashing unexpectedly.
fly shorter distances
This trick goes hand in hand with having an extra battery on hand. Strong winds can seriously affect your drone's flight patterns - you could lose your drone! When flying in strong winds, keep the drone within sight, as the drone GPS cannot be relied upon in strong winds.
don't fly over people
In strong winds, the drone's mechanisms tend to overreact. When encountering gusts of wind, the drone accelerates, but when those gusts suddenly slow down, the drone cannot immediately recalibrate its speed. Therefore, it is important to keep your drone at a great distance from nearby objects or people - this can be a dangerous situation!
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